China stops Filipinos from landing on SCS island
Chinese maritime police prevented 15 Filipinos, along with a US citizen, from hoisting the national flag of the Philippines on an island in the South China Sea, the latest flashpoint between the two nations locked in a UN arbitration over maritime disputes in the strategic region.
The group was intercepted by two motor boats driven by Chinese maritime police on June 12, state media here reported today. The group belonged to the Kalayaan ATIN ITO ((Freedom It’s Ours) and wanted to land on the Huangyan Island - claimed by China and the Philippines - to celebrate their Independence Day.
The fishing boat they took was spotted and intercepted by two motor boats from the Chinese maritime police who asked the “interlopers” to go back, state-run china.org.cn reported. The confrontation there lasted for four hours, it said.
Five Philippine citizens onboard were trying to swim to the Huangyan Island to place their national flag as well as the UN flag. Two Philippine citizens swam to the surrounding area of the island raised their country flag and left, the report said.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated that the Huangyan Island is an integral part of China’s territory and any actions that China launches there are within the country’s sovereign rights for legitimate concerns.
The Philippines has initiated and pushed forward with international arbitral proceedings regarding the dispute with China in the South China Sea. China claims virtually all of the SCS and rejects the court’s authority in the case, which is widely expected to go in favour of the Philippines.
China claims all most all of South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.